There are lots of stories about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), some true, some not. One thing’s for sure, the risk of picking up or passing on a STI is no reason not to have sex, but it’s a very good reason to be careful – and to always use a condom.
Did You Know?
- As many as 70% of women and 50% of men who have an STI, don’t show any symptoms.
- If you have unprotected sex (sex without a condom), you have a much greater chance of getting a STI like chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV.
- There are an estimated 20,000 HIV positive people in the UK who don’t know they’ve got HIV.
- In the last 10 years, the number of people infected with chlamydia has increased by 206%. In some high-risk groups, such as gay men, the number of people infected with syphilis has increased by 1,949%.
What Does That Mean To Me?
- You don’t need to sleep around to get an STI – anyone who has sex without a condom is at risk.
- HIV is the most dangerous STI simply because there is no cure. It weakens the immune system so that your body finds it harder to fight off other infections.
- Green ooze dripping out of your penis or vagina can be a symptom of gonorrhea, but many STIs don’t carry any symptoms at all, though they can lead to infertility, heart disease, brain and nervous system damage.
- Chlamydia is now the most common (yet easily curable) STI in the UK – as many as one in ten young people under 25 may be infected with it. Often people don’t know they have it as there aren’t always symptoms, but an infection could leave you unable to have children
What Can I Do About It?
- Get yourself checked out. If you have itches, sores or blisters around your genitals, you probably have an STI. No need to panic, but you should contact your health care provider quickly.
- Condoms are essential wear: Always use a condom every time you have sex, as this is the best way of making sure you don’t get a STI – It’s not just a bloke thing either, women buy 4 out of every 10 condoms sold.
- Condoms come in a wide range of sizes, flavors, colors and shapes and are available for both men and women. There are allergy-free versions and even vegan varieties, which use no animal products including milk- so there’s no excuse for not using one.
For more information on sexual health (including HIV) -
In The UK – call the Sexual Health Line free (from the UK) on 0800 567 123, textphone (for people with hearing impairments) 0800 521 361 or phone your local NHS sexual health clinic.
In The U.S.A. Contact your local Planned Parenthood office >
Thanks to Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and Condoms Essential Wear for the information.